The Cubs kicked their Spring off on the right foot, with an 8-4 trounce of the Brewers (REVENGE!!!!). Kris Bryant even went deep in his very first at bat – which helped his fired-up message after the game carry a little more weight.
I think this year is going to be an especially big one for the third baseman.
After Jose Ramirez, Kris Bryant is like slowly becoming one of the most underrated players in MLB. He’s had nothing but elite years and then one season where an injury limited him.
Hell. He’s underrating HIMSELF here.
I think 2019 is going to remind a lot of people who he is. https://t.co/zzQ6ejXXgc
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) February 24, 2019
But before we get to the regular season, the Cubs have many more Spring Training games to get to, including their contest against the Giants this afternoon.
Madison Bumgarner is taking the mound for San Francisco at their ballpark in Scottsdale and Tyler Chatwood will get the start for the Cubs. Chatwood’s position on the roster remains unclear – he’s not even the first in line for a rotation replacement at the moment – but the Cubs are wise to keep him stretched out. I’ll hold out hope that he can get over whatever it is that plagued him last year, because his stuff, when even moderately commanded, is still so sweet.
The top of the Cubs lineup is filled with some popular names again today, including Albert Almora at leadoff. Almora had a hot start to the season last year, though it was heavily BABIP-fueled and ultimately faded harder than most in the second half. His defense in center remains excellent, so hopefully he takes a big step forward with the bat this season. Even modest success at the plate – with his glove in center – would result in a very valuable (and cheap and young) player.
Brett already discussed Ian Happ’s installation at second base earlier today. Beyond him, you’ll find Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber hitting back-to-back (a rare sight, I’d wager), with Addison Russell getting his first start of the Spring behind him. Remember, Russell is suspended for 29 more games for domestic violence, but that won’t pick up until the season begins. He’s able to participate fully in the Spring and the front office has indicated he’ll as much.
David Bote and Victor Caratini hit behind Russell and both are fighting to make the big league roster right out of the gate. Given everything that happened last year (and the lack of a veteran catcher (Hi, Rene Rivera) signing this offseason), both feel like strong bets to break camp with the Cubs, though nothing is guaranteed.
I’d wager we’ll see each of Mark Zagunis and Jacob Hannemann, batting eight and ninth, in Chicago before the 2019 season is over, but I wouldn’t expect them up immediately (absent a series of injuries).
Chicago Cubs (1-0) at San Francisco Giants (0-1) – Sunday, February 24th at 2:05 CT on 670 The Score
Giants: (L): Madison Bumgarner
Cubs: (R): Tyler Chatwood
San Francisco Giants
- Joe Panik, 2B
- Gerrardo Parra, LF
- Evan Longoria, 3B
- Brandon Belt, 1B
- Brandon Crawford, DH
- Alen Hanson, SS
- Drew Ferguson, CF
- Rene Rivera, C
- Henry Ramos, RF
- Albert Almora Jr., CF
- Ian Happ, 2B
- Anthony Rizzo, 1B
- Kyle Schwarber, LF
- Addison Russell, SS
- David Bote, 3B
- Victor Caratini, C
- Mark Zagunis, RF
- Jacob Hannemann, DH